Israel seizes Egypt-Gaza border area as IDF soldiers killed in West Bank

The Israeli military has said two of its soldiers have been killed in a car-ramming attack in the occupied West Bank.

According to the Israel Defence Forces, or IDF, a report was received late on Wednesday about the incident near the Palestinian city of Nablus. The military said the attacker fled the scene and that soldiers had launched a search for him.

On Thursday, the military said the soldiers who were struck had died and that top military officials conducted an initial inquiry into the attack.

Israeli Army Radio reported that the attacker had turned himself in to Palestinian security forces, but the report could not immediately be confirmed.

Violence in the West Bank has surged since the war in Gaza began. Israel has been conducting raids into Palestinian cities and towns in the territory to crack down on militant resistance, and the incursions have led to the deaths of more than 500 Palestinians.

Most of the deaths have occurred in clashes with the military, but some Palestinians have been shot after throwing stones, while others have been killed without being involved in any confrontations.

Palestinian attacks against Israelis have also been on the rise in the territory.

Israel seizes key area on Gaza-Egypt border

The IDF said on Wednesday it had seized control of a strategic corridor along Gaza’s border with Egypt to cut off smuggling tunnels as it tries to destroy Hamas.

The capture of the Philadelphi Corridor could complicate Israel’s relations with Egypt, which has complained about Israel’s advance toward its border. Israel says the corridor is riddled with tunnels that have been used to funnel weapons and other goods to Hamas despite a years-long blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt.

Israel has also deepened its incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands have been seeking shelter from fighting, and where intensifying violence in recent days has killed dozens of Palestinians.

An Israeli fighter jet and a drone seen from Rafah, Gaza Strip.

The IDF said that a fifth brigade – up to several thousand soldiers – joined troops operating in the city on Tuesday.

Egypt says any increase in troops in the strategic border area would violate the countries’ 1979 peace accord. It already has complained about Israel taking over the Rafah border crossing, the only crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

“The Philadelphi Corridor served as the oxygen line of Hamas through which Hamas carried out weapons smuggling into Gaza on a regular basis,” said Israel’s military chief spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.

China pledges more Gaza aid at Sino-Arab summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated calls for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and promised more humanitarian aid for people in Gaza as he opened a summit with leaders of Arab states on Thursday.

“Since last October, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has escalated drastically, throwing people into tremendous suffering,” Xi said in a speech opening the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing. “War should not continue indefinitely.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the 10th ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum.

He restated China’s backing for a two-state solution and pledged 500 million yuan (€65.1 million) in humanitarian aid for Gaza. He also promised to donate €2.7 million to a UN agency that provides assistance and relief to refugees of the Israel-Hamas war.

Beijing and the Arab states have backed the Palestinians in the conflict. Israel is facing growing international condemnation after an IDF strike in the southern Gaza city of Rafah killed at least 45 civilians over the weekend.

The overall Palestinian death toll in the war has surpassed 36,000, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

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